Lighten Up with Butternut Squash Quinoa

by Sarah on October 25, 2011 · 16 comments

I love butternut squash risotto but it is not exactly the most healthy comfort food recipe.  I made this last week but was unable to upload the pictures since my cord was en route from Chicago.  Using a few simple swaps, I was able to lighten up this fall staple with ease and even made it more affordable.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Quinoa

  • Serves: 2
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 35


  • 3 cups of Butternut squash, peeled & cubed
  • 1/4 cup of Quinoa
  • 1 cup of Low Sodium Chicken Broth (you can use water if you want)
  • 1/2 cup Onion, chopped  (I love vidalia)
  • 1 cup of Baby Spinach
  • 2 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Wedges
  • 1 teaspoon Sage, chopped
  • Handful of Walnuts (Optional)


Preheat oven to 400F.  Place squash on a cookie sheet and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes.  Spray with olive oil can and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  I added all spice but it’s not necessary.  Preheat a medium sized pot on medium and spray with olive oil.  Add onion and saute for 5 minute on medium-low or until it is soft.  Rinse off quinoa under cold running water.  Add quinoa and chicken broth to pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once it is boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Once all broth is evaporated reduce heat as low as possible.  Add in Laughing Cow Wedges and blending well.  Next add in in the baby spinach and sage.  When squash is soft and done, take out of the oven and add it into the pot, smooshing some but not all the cubes.  If the pot is too small you can transfer to a large bowl.  Mix under the squash is half mashed and half chunky.  Sprinkle with walnuts.  Enjoy!

By using quinoa, you add protein making this meal a complete protein.  The Laughing Cow Wedges make the meal seem high calorie but at 35 calories each, clearly is not going to break the bank for the week!  If you do not have sage, you can try adding rosemary and/or thyme.  What is your favorite fall comfort food recipe you want me to lighten up next?

Note: I am a Laughing Cow Community Leader.  To learn more about my role, you can read this post.  I find that everyone I share this with has the same response, “I love The Laughing Cow.” I agree, which is why I embrace this position!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Viviana October 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm

When you say the risotto is not the healthiest comfort food what exactly do you mean? Is it because it’s higher in carbs? I’m Italian so I make a lot of risotto :) and you can easily avoid butter and oil and still make it creamy and delicious :) I will definitely try your quinoa version though!


2 Alicia October 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Yummy Dish….
I made a version of your recipe today for lunch with leftovers I already had in the fridge.
I used already cooked quinoa, (always have this on hand), broccoli, chicken, pine nuts, shredded 2% chedder, plus acorn squash. Delish. Thank you Sarah for idea.


3 Kristyn October 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Yum….I’m going to try this tomorrow! I don’t do dairy – do you think it would be ok without the cheese??


4 Sarah October 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Hi kristyn! I love when real friends comment! Lol. Yes, it will still work. You could also try veggie shreds, a vegan non dairy cheese. I am not vegan obviously but occasionally avoid dairy and really like it. Most grocery stores carry it these days in the natural aisles..


5 Kristyn October 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Great! I’ll give it a try and let you know how it truns out. I read your blog pretty much every day – have made alot of fitness and nutrition changes and feeling great! xo


6 Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] October 26, 2011 at 3:31 am

Awesome recipe! I definitely plan to try it this season :)


7 Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers October 26, 2011 at 1:03 pm

i made a mock risotto recipe just like this last week, but with wheatberries instead of quinoa. LOVE the combination of flavors! butternut squash makes risottos so creamy!


8 Sarah October 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I saw yours! I made mine literally the night before and was like “people are so going to think I’m copying Julie” lol, I have to post fun laughing cow recipes each month and thought it would be awesome to recreate creaminess using their wedges. I am going to try your version soon since i bought wheatberries forever ago and forget about them!


9 Julie @ Peanut Butter Fingers October 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm

i wish i would’ve thought to add walnuts to mine! genius!


10 rachel November 2, 2011 at 12:52 am

I just made this (without walnuts) and pureed it for baby food. My 9 month old loves it- and so do I!


11 Sarah November 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Yay! If you took a picture, feel free to post it on my facebook wall!! :)


12 Erin November 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I made this last night and it was amazing! I think the best part was my fiance enjoying it even though he HATES spinach. :) Thanks again and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!


13 Katie January 16, 2012 at 12:57 am

this was pretty good.


14 jeannine December 3, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Any calorie/fat info?


15 Julie O'Neil October 19, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Just made this! It tastes really good! I substituted cinnamon for allspice (I didn’t have any allspice), and did not use sage/rosemary/thyme (once again, did not have any, my roommates and I do not have a super great spice collection). It still is really good though :)


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